Friday, November 6, 2009

New York Times blows the whistle on the CIA in Afghanistan

Tony Blankley exposes the unequal treatment of leaks of classified information by members of the executive branch of our government.  From

Not so long ago, there was a furious fight among different tribes in the White House, CIA and State and Defense departments over the correct war-fighting strategy. The coin of the realm back then was intelligence. Intelligence that pointed in the right policy direction was cherry-picked and shown to the public; covert players connected to undesirable conclusions were outed or disparaged. This fight for the hearts and minds of Washington opinion shapers was fought out on the battlefields of The Washington Post and The New York Times — and from them to the networks and news outlets across the country and around the world.

These descriptions may remind you of Valerie Plame — a CIA operations officer with relatively minor responsibilities who was outed by someone in the George W. Bush administration. As soon as the press corps came to believe that someone — perhaps close to the president — had leaked her name to Bob Novak, the hunt was on. The media screamed for investigations. The CIA called for a Justice Department investigation. The opposition Democrats called for a special prosecutor to probe the unconscionable breach. The prosecutor was appointed by Bush. A trial was held.

People were less concerned with what they substantively had learned about Iraq’s yellowcake uranium policy — that the past decision to go to war in Iraq may have been made against the advice and proffered ambiguous evidence of Plame’s husband — than with the identity of the government official who despicably and feloniously had “blown her cover.”

Well, last week, The New York Times again published on the front page the name of an alleged CIA-paid undercover asset. This time, it was none other than Ahmed Wali Karzai, the powerful brother of the Afghan president. The Times cited, on background, Obama administration “political officials,” “senior administration officials” and others as its sources to the effect that Karzai has been secretly on the CIA payroll for eight years and has been helping the United States with intelligence, logistic and base support for our special forces, and recruiting and running an Afghan paramilitary force on the instruction of the CIA — as well as being a major narcotics trafficker.

This may well be the most egregious compromise of an extraordinarily valuable and inflammatory secret CIA operative in our history. It was leaked not after the policy was carried out — as in the Plame case — but just weeks before the president will be making his fateful strategy and manpower decision for the Afghan war. It is also just days before the runoff election in Afghanistan, which may well be affected by the release of this shocking information.
Of course, this runoff election did not take place.  Dr. Abdullah Abdullah withdrew from the contest, citing his certainty that a fair election was not possible.  Perhaps the New York Times disclosure that the brother of his opponent was on the payroll of the CIA gave him pause. Ya think?

In any case, where is the outrage about this leak of sensitive U.S. intelligence information? Blankley nets it out for us:
Of course, you have not heard anyone asking these questions … yet, because in today’s Washington, there is a curious lack of curiosity regarding possible wrongdoing by the administration’s staff.
But you will hear these questions — and more. Because there are some powerful cliques in this town with powerful interests in seeing justice done in this “intelligence betrayal of the century.” Ticktock … ticktock. The squirming already has begun.
I hope he's right.  It's time to prosecute the Gray Lady for treason.

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